An International Persective

My wife and I recently visited Auckland New Zealand. New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Tampa’s Eastern Standard Time and so operating in the “future” was quite interesting for us.  The rest of the world is always trying to catch up with you.  To give you an idea of its size, New Zealand has 2 islands;  the south island, measuring about the same square miles as Florida and the north island, about 24% smaller than the South Island.  Both islands of New Zealand are home to 4.5 million people, while the greater Tampa Bay area alone has nearly 4.5 million people.

New Zealand’s economy is primarily agricultural with its 40 million sheep holding top honors in its revenue producing ability. Like Florida, tourism is vital to its economy.  People come from all over the world to visit its majesty and beauty.  Because the US dollar is worth 25% more in New Zealand than here, it’s a great time to visit. New Zealand’s population had been moving to Australia where the wages are higher, but with the strengthening economy, its population seems to be stabilizing.

Australia is about the size of the US but has only 26.5 million people; 7.5 million people fewer than the state of California. It lies 1200 miles west of New Zealand.  Most of Australia is desert so the majority of its residents live in or near Sydney.  Sydney is by far the largest city with about 4.6 million people.  Australia is growing and faces similar struggles as the US including illegal immigration.  Boat people seek asylum in Australia, and are frequently granted their wish, but like the US, the costs of caring for non-taxpaying citizens is beginning to take a serious toll on its budget. Citizens are becoming upset and concerned even though they are, like many in the US, sympathetic to the plight of the unfortunate.  However, Australian citizens are struggling with the costs and responsibility of supporting those who do not pay taxes.

Another very interesting fact that directly impacts US real estate prices now and into the future is this: Sydney, Australia, the second most expensive city to live in the world, and Auckland, one of the most livable cities in the world are experiencing a huge influx of capital from all around the world because both cities are considered safe havens.  You see, when you consider the 7 billion people living in the earth’s nearly 200 countries, only a few countries are thought to be safe havens; a place in which you can put your money and have it available when you desire.  With that said, the US has several cities that standout as safe havens:  New York, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles, and Houston. Interestingly, Australia loves the US and is a heavy investor. Have you ever been to a Westfield Mall?  Those malls are owned by a Westfield Group, based in Sydney, Australia.

Foreigners still consider the United States one of greatest countries on earth and one of the best places to invest; so do I.  We need to continue to work hard to be certain their faith in our country and our economy stays strong.